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US20090106128A1 - Web Service Architecture for Product Selection and Dynamic Catalog Generation - Google Patents

Web Service Architecture for Product Selection and Dynamic Catalog Generation Download PDF

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Publication number
US20090106128A1
US20090106128A1 US12254346 US25434608A US2009106128A1 US 20090106128 A1 US20090106128 A1 US 20090106128A1 US 12254346 US12254346 US 12254346 US 25434608 A US25434608 A US 25434608A US 2009106128 A1 US2009106128 A1 US 2009106128A1
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catalog
information
web
sales
service
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Abandoned
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US12254346
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Muralidhara Varmaraja
Meng Feng
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Oracle International Corp
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Oracle International Corp
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q30/00Commerce, e.g. shopping or e-commerce
    • G06Q30/06Buying, selling or leasing transactions
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q30/00Commerce, e.g. shopping or e-commerce
    • G06Q30/06Buying, selling or leasing transactions
    • G06Q30/0601Electronic shopping

Abstract

Various systems and methods for providing product selection and dynamic catalog generation as a Web Service are disclosed. One method involves receiving a Web Service signature requesting access to catalog information. The Web Service signature comprises information indicative of a sales context. The method then dynamically generates a catalog, based upon the sales context. The method can also involve generating a second Web Service signature, which includes information indicative of the catalog, and sending that second Web Service signature to the application that requested access to the catalog information.

Description

    RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • [0001]
    This application claims the benefit, under 35 U.S.C. § 119 (e), of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/981,446, filed Oct. 19, 2007, entitled “Web Service Architecture for Order Management System,” and naming Muralidhara Varmaraja, Meng Feng, Hang Lu, Ashish Singhal, Eugene Chikovani, Mark D. Lewis, Ying Wang, Re Lai, Robert A. M. Seaman, II, Jonathan Fan, and Yi Chang as inventors. The above-referenced application is hereby incorporated by reference herein in its entirety as if completely and fully set forth herein.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    This invention relates to order management systems and, more particularly, to providing product selection and dynamic catalog generation as a service.
  • BACKGROUND
  • [0003]
    Order management systems provide a framework for providing functionality such as that needed to define a sales context, manage products and catalogs, generate pricing information, and analyze customer behavior. However, such order management functionality is typically integrated with the interface for accessing that functionality. Accordingly, the order management functionality is typically only accessible via static, pre-specified interfaces. For example, many order management systems provide a single interface that provides limited, if any, customizability, which may in turn limit a client's ability to control the look and feel of the user interface that client presents to customers.
  • [0004]
    Furthermore, the standard interfaces may not be available for use with certain sales channels, effectively rendering the underlying order management system functionality inaccessible to those sales channels. This can in turn require that the underlying order management system functionality be duplicated for each sales channel. In such a system, each instance of the underlying functionality must be updated whenever a change (e.g., to the products within a product line or to product pricing) is made. Since multiple different systems must be updated in order to propagate each change, there is an increased likelihood that there will be inconsistencies among the sales channels (e.g., due to the change not be entered at the same time or in the same manner in each system).
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0005]
    A more complete understanding of the present invention may be acquired by referring to the following description and the accompanying drawings, in which like reference numbers indicate like features.
  • [0006]
    FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a system that includes an order management system that provides order management functionality as a Web Service, according to one embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0007]
    FIG. 2 is a block diagram of the Web Services interface between a sales channel module and an order management system, according to one embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0008]
    FIG. 3 is a block diagram of an order management system that provides a Web Services interface to catalog management functionality, according to one embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0009]
    FIG. 4 is a flowchart of a method of providing catalog management functionality as a Web Service, according to one embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0010]
    FIG. 5 is a block diagram of a computing device that illustrates how an order management system that provides a Web Services interface can be implemented in software, according to one embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0011]
    While the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, specific embodiments of the invention are provided as examples in the drawings and detailed description. It should be understood that the drawings and detailed description are not intended to limit the invention to the particular form disclosed. Instead, the intention is to cover all modifications, equivalents and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION System Overview
  • [0012]
    FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a system that includes an order management system that provides various order management functions as Web Services. As shown, the system includes several computing devices 5(1), 5(2), 5(3), 5(4), and 5(5). Each computing device can include one or more servers, personal computers, cell phones, laptop computers, personal digital assistants, or other computing devices that are capable of implementing a sales channel module or order management system in hardware and/or software.
  • [0013]
    Computing device 5(5) implements an order management system 50. Order management system 50 provides functionality that can be used to, for example, define a sales context, manage product and/or catalog information, proving pricing information, and/or analyze customer behavior. Order management system 50 can also provide functionality to capture orders, orchestrate orders, and/or fulfill customer orders. While FIG. 1 shows order management system 50 being implemented on a single computing device 5(5), it is noted that in many implementations, the functionality of order management system 50 may be distributed among several such computing devices.
  • [0014]
    Order management system 50 can provide access to, generate, and/or maintain order management information 60. Order management information 60 can include pricing information, rules information (e.g., for use in determining pricing, product configurations, product eligibility, and the like), catalog and product information, and other appropriate information.
  • [0015]
    Computing devices 5(1), 5(2), 5(3), and 5(4) each implement a respective sales channel module. These sales channel modules are used to facilitate respective sales channels. In particular, call center sales channel module 10(1), which is implemented on computing device 5(1), is used to facilitate a call center sales channel. In one embodiment, call center sales channel module 10(1) provides a user interface to a customer service agent working in a call center, allowing the customer service agent to use functionality provided by order management system 50.
  • [0016]
    Similarly, computing device 5(2) implements a partner sales channel module 10(2). Partner sales channel module 10(2) can facilitate sales (via order management system 50) of one client's products and/or services by another client, which is referred to as a partner.
  • [0017]
    Computing device 5(3) implements a Web sales channel module 10(3). Web sales channel module 10(3) facilitates orders over the Internet. For example, Web sales channel module 10(3) can include a Web server that allows users to browse Web pages. Web sales channel module 10(3) can interact with order management system 50 in order to obtain information to display in the Web pages being supplied to users.
  • [0018]
    Computing device 5(4) implements a retail sales channel module 10(4). Retail sales channel module 10(4) can operate in a retail environment. Retail sales channel module 10(4) can provide sales clerks and/or customers with access to the functionality provided by order management system 50 in order to facilitate sales and ordering in the retail environment.
  • [0019]
    Computing devices 5(1)-5(5) are coupled by a network 15. Network 15 can include one or more Local Area Networks (LANs) and/or Wide Area Networks (WANs) such as the Internet. Network 15 can be implemented using various wireless links, coaxial cables, fiber optic cables, and the like. It is noted that in alternative embodiments, instead of being implemented on separate computing devices from each other and from order management system 50, one or more sales channel modules can be implemented on the same computing device as each other or on the same computing device as all or part of order management system 50.
  • [0020]
    Each sales channel module 10(1), 10(2), 10(3), and 10(4) can thus interact with order management system 50 in order to facilitate sales and orders via a particular sales channel. Sales channel modules 10(1), 10(2), 10(3), and 10(4) can be implemented in a variety of different ways, using various different types of applications. For example, call center sales channel module 10(1) can be a mainframe order entry system, while partner sales channel module 10(2) can be implemented using an application such as Seibel™ Business Applications software, available from Oracle Corporation of Redwood Shores, Calif., or Microsoft™ Sharepoint Server, available from Microsoft Corporation of Redmond, Wash. In general, each sales channel module may be implemented differently than each other sales channel module.
  • [0021]
    Each sales channel module can also maintain sales context information, such as sales context information 18 maintained by Web sales channel module 10(3). Such sales context information can include shopping cart information (e.g., for a Web sales channel), customer identifiers or other information (e.g., such as a prior order history) associated with a customer, and the like.
  • [0022]
    As briefly noted above, order management system 50 provides order management functionality as a Web Service. A Web Service is a discrete piece of business logic that is accessible via Internet protocols. Such a Web Service can be specified using Web Services Description Language (WSDL). In particular, WSDL is a format, based in eXtensible Markup Language (XML), for defining a Web Service interface. WSDL can be used to specify the endpoints, location, protocol binding, operations, parameters, and/or data types associated with a Web Service.
  • [0023]
    The organization that creates order management system 50 can generate a WSDL document (e.g., an XML document complying with WSDL) that describes the Web Service(s) provided by order management system 50. For each Web Service, the WSDL document can describe the operations provided by the Web Service, the input and output message structures for each operation, and the mechanism used to contact the Web Service.
  • [0024]
    Web Services are accessed using an XML-based transport protocol such as Service Oriented Architecture Protocol (SOAP). In particular, Web Service signatures (which are messages that comply with a particular Web Service's WSDL file) can be transported via SOAP.
  • [0025]
    Using Web Services to access order management functionality allows the order management functionality to be decoupled from the sales channel module accessing the order management functionality. Accordingly, each different sales channel module can be implemented differently (and independently), so long as the resulting sales channel modules are able to request Web Services. Accordingly, a given sales channel module can be implemented whatever technology best suits the needs of a particular sales channel. Furthermore, the technology used to implement a particular sales channel module can be modified without necessitating modifications to the underlying order management system. Similarly, the particular software modules used to implement the order management system's functionality can be modified without necessitating changes in the sales channel modules that access that functionality.
  • [0026]
    Furthermore, each sales channel module 10(1)-10(4) can access the same order management functionality by accessing the order management functionality as a Web Service. Accordingly, the same underlying business logic, workflows (e.g., formed by linking two or more business logic components together to perform a particular business task), and order management information can be used to support multiple sales channels. This allows a consistent user experience (in terms of available products, pricing, discounting, and the like) to be provided across multiple different sales channels. Furthermore, whenever changes need to be made (e.g., to reflect new products, new pricing, and the like), the changes can be made just once to the underlying order management system 50. The updated order management system 50 will then return the updated service or information to each of the different sales channels.
  • [0027]
    FIG. 2 is a block diagram of the Web Services interface between a sales channel module and an order management system. In this example, a sales channel module 10 (e.g., one of sales channel modules 10(1)-10(4) of FIG. 1) is coupled to communicate with an order management system 50. In one embodiment, sales channel module 10 is implemented in a container or application server (e.g., a Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EE)™ container), and order management system 50 can be implemented in a different container or application server.
  • [0028]
    Sales channel module 10 includes a presentation layer 110 (e.g., used to provide a user interface), a business process layer 120 (e.g., used to implement workflows or business services), and an integration layer 130. Integration layer 130 includes a Web Service requester agent that is configured to request Web Services provided by order management system 50 by sending Web Service signatures via SOAP (or any other appropriate protocol).
  • [0029]
    Order management system 50 includes a Web Service module 150, which includes a Web service provider agent that is configured to receive Web Service signatures sent by sales channel module 10 and to send responsive Web Service signatures back to sales channel module 10. Web Service module 150 can also transform Web Service signatures into property sets that can be processed by workflow and/or business services 170. Similarly, Web Service module 150 can transform property sets generated by workflow and/or business services 170 into Web Service signatures and then send those Web Service signatures to the appropriate sales channel module.
  • [0030]
    Workflow and/or business services 170 include various modules for providing workflows and business services. For example, such modules can include a module that provides a pricing workflow, a module that provides product configuration functionality, a module that provides access to catalog and product information, and the like. Workflow and/or business services 170 can operate on property sets provided by Web Service module 150, modify and/or access order management information (e.g., order management information 60 of FIG. 1), and return results (again in the form of property sets) to Web Service module 150.
  • Accessing Catalog Functionality as a Web Service
  • [0031]
    FIG. 3 is a block diagram of an order management system that provides a Web Services interface to catalog management functionality. As shown, order management system 50 communicates with one or more sales channel modules 10 (e.g., one of sales channel modules 10(1)-10(4) of FIG. 1) via a Web Services interface. Order management system 50 includes one or more workflows and/or business services 170, which in turn include a catalog module 300. Catalog module 300 includes a product information module 310, a dynamic catalog generation module 320, and a search module 330. Catalog module 300 maintains catalog information 350 and also uses catalog information 350 to respond to requests.
  • [0032]
    Sales channel module 10 can request access to catalog functionality provided by order management system 50 as a service. In particular, sales channel module 10 can send a Web Service signature to order management system 50 in order to invoke a particular catalog service. The Web Service signature can optionally include information identifying a sales context (e.g., such information can include a customer or account identifier, information about the status and/or location of a customer, shopping cart information, and the like) and/or a search string. The particular format of the sales context and/or search string can be configured by the user that operates sales channel module 10.
  • [0033]
    In response to receiving a Web Service signature requesting to invoke catalog functionality, order management system 50 can provide information indicating the request to catalog module 300. Order management system 50 can also provide any information that was provided as part of the Web Service signature to the catalog module 300 (e.g., such information can be provided in the form of a property set generated by a Web Services module like the one shown in FIG. 2). Catalog module 300 can then generate a response to the request, based upon catalog information 350 and any information that was provided as part of the Web Service signature.
  • [0034]
    Catalog information 350 includes information identifying one or more catalogs (e.g., in terms of type, description, start and/or end date, identifier, name, and the like). Each catalog is a collection of products that are arranged in a logical hierarchy of categories. Accordingly, for each identified catalog, catalog information 350 can include information identifying one or more catalog categories (e.g., each such category can include a group of related products) within that catalog. The catalog category information can include information identifying the catalog(s) in which each category is included, the name of each category, an extended text description of each category, and the like. In one embodiment, some categories can be sub-categories of other categories, and thus each category can also identify a parent category, if applicable.
  • [0035]
    Similarly, for each catalog, catalog information 350 includes information identifying one or more products included in that catalog. Each item of product information can identify the category or categories in which that product is included, the catalog(s) in which that product is included, effective dates, eligibility information (e.g., used to determine whether the product is available to certain end customers), pricing information, product descriptions, and the like.
  • [0036]
    Product information module 310 is configured to access product information stored as part of catalog information 350. For example, product information module 310 can be invoked to provide product details (e.g., by retrieving basic product information such as a product name, description, price, and the like), provide a product attribute domain (e.g., by returning a list of all possible values for a particular product attribute), and/or to provide product children information (e.g., by returning details of all entities, such as product literature, product features, product reviews, and the like, that are associated with a given product). Each of these functions can be accessed as a service by sending an appropriate Web Service signature to order management system 50. In response to such a Web Service signature being received, product information module 310 will access catalog information 350 and generate an appropriate result, which can then be returned to the requester in a Web Service signature.
  • [0037]
    Dynamic catalog generation module 320 is configured to dynamically generate a catalog in response to a request for a catalog. The dynamic catalog generation module 320 can dynamically generate the catalog based upon information, such as sales context information and/or a search string, received along with a request for a catalog. Such information can be received as part of a Web Service signature sent to order management system 50 by a sales channel module.
  • [0038]
    Examples of types of requests for a catalog that would cause dynamic catalog generation module 320 to dynamically generate a catalog include a request for a list of catalogs, a request for a list of catalog categories, a request for a list of catalog category products, and a request to publish a catalog. These requests can be generated by a sales channel module in order to provide a user interface to the catalog. For example, to generate a top-level view of available catalogs, the sales channel module can invoke a request for a list of catalogs. In response to receiving the list of catalogs from the order management system, the sales channel module can display that list to the user. If the user selects one of the catalogs from the displayed list of catalogs, the sales channel module can invoke a request for a list of catalog categories within that catalog. Based upon the response to this request, the sales channel module can display a list of categories to the user, in response to the user's selection of a particular catalog. If in turn the user selects a particular category from the displayed list of categories, the sales channel module can request a list of products within the selected category.
  • [0039]
    In response to receiving a request for a catalog, dynamic catalog generation module 320 retrieves the appropriate catalog items (e.g., catalog names, catalog category names, product names, and the like) from catalog information 350. If the request also specifies a sales context, dynamic catalog generation module 320 can invoke another workflow and/or business service that will select the subset of those catalog items that would otherwise satisfy the request. For example, if a request for a set of products within a particular catalog or catalog category is received, dynamic catalog generation module 320 can select the set of appropriate products from catalog information 350, based upon the identity of the catalog or catalog categories that includes the products. If the request also specifies a sales context (e.g., by specifying characteristics of the user viewing the catalog via the sales channel module), dynamic catalog generation module 320 can invoke an eligibility workflow, which will then identify the subset of the set of products (already identified by dynamic catalog generation module 320) that the user is eligible to view. In general, if sales context is provided with a request for a catalog, dynamic catalog generation module 320 can invoke other policy workflows and/or business services that can narrow the list of catalog items that should be returned in response to the request, based upon the sales context provided in the request.
  • [0040]
    By dynamically generating the catalogs in response to individual requests, dynamic catalog generation module 320 will always return an up-to-date version of the catalog items in the requested catalogs. In contrast, if catalogs were static, out-of-date catalog items would likely be returned in response to requests. Furthermore, since dynamic catalog generation module 320's functionality can be invoked as a Web Service, multiple different sales channels can access the same catalog information. Accordingly, these different sales channels can provide a consistent user experience by virtue of accessing the same catalog information. Furthermore, as the underlying catalog information 350 is updated, the updates will be automatically propagated to each sales channel the next time that the sale channel requests access to the updated information.
  • [0041]
    Search module 310 is configured to search catalog information 350 (or a particular subset of catalog information 350, if a catalog or catalog category is specified in the request) for particular catalogs, catalog categories, and/or products based upon search criteria. Search module 330 can also provide various search information, such as the list of current searchable classes, product families, and the like, within a given catalog or catalog category, as well as a list of attributes available to be searched within a given catalog or catalog category.
  • [0042]
    Various modules within catalog module 300, such as product information module 310, dynamic catalog generation module 320, and search module 330, can dynamically generate catalog information (e.g., a catalog, product information, search information, and the like) in response to order management system 50 receiving a Web Service signature from sales channel module 10. The generation of the catalog information can be dependent upon sales context information and/or search strings received as part of the Web Service signature, as described above.
  • [0043]
    The following table shows an example of functionality that can be provided by as services by catalog module 300, in one embodiment:
  • [0000]
    Service Description
    Get Catalogs Retrieve a list of catalogs for a given user and
    other contextual parameters
    Get Catalog Retrieve a list of categories
    Categories
    Get Catalog Retrieve a list of products for given catalog,
    Category Products category and other contextual parameters
    Get Product Retrieve basic product information
    Details
    Get Search Retrieve a list of fields or attributes available
    Parameters for a search option. Example: 100 ‘dpm’ and
    ‘200 dpm’ for the Printer ‘Speed’ option
    Get Search Retrieve the search options for a specific product
    Parameter Options family or class. Ex: ‘Printer Speed’,
    ‘Color’, and the like. for ‘Printer’ Class
    Execute search Execute search based on the given search criteria
    Get Product Retrieve all the possible values for a given product
    Attribute Domain attribute
    Get Catalog In Full Get full details for a catalog
    Get Product Retrieve details of associated product entities such
    Information as ‘Product Literature’, ‘Features’,
    and the like.
    Publish Catalog Used to syndicate catalog to external parties (e.g.,
    an XML file containing the full catalog contents can
    be returned)
    Get Related Retrieve all the related Promotions for a given
    Promotions product
  • [0044]
    The Web Service signatures used to invoke catalog module 350's functionality can also specify particular information that is needed and/or not needed by the sales channel module invoking the service. Thus, certain requests can specify that only some of the available information in a particular catalog item is needed. Accordingly, catalog module 300 can be configured to exclude the information that is not needed when dynamically generating catalog information in response to such a request.
  • [0045]
    In some embodiments, multiple requests for catalog information can be received from the same sales channel module as part of the same user experience (e.g., if a sales channel module is generating a user interface and allowing a user to navigate from a list of catalogs to a list of products within a catalog, that sales channel module may need to invoke several different catalog functions). In such situations, each Web Service signature sent by the sales channel module can contain the same sales context. Alternatively, the first Web Service signature can indicate that the order management system 50 should save the included sales context. Subsequent Web Service signatures can indicate that the order management system 50 should use the saved sales context (in some embodiments, this can be done as an alternative to including the sales context in the subsequent Web Service signatures). It is noted that such arrangements allow the sales channel module to maintain its sales context (e.g., a shopping cart and the like) externally to the sales channel module.
  • [0046]
    In some embodiments, catalog module 300 may also allow an administrator to manage (e.g., by viewing existing catalog information, deleting existing catalog information, creating new catalog information, and/or modifying existing catalog information) catalog information 350 via a Web Service. For example, an administrator can interact with a sales channel module, causing the sales channel module to send a Web Service signature containing a request to modifying catalog information to order management system 50. This Web Service signature can also include information, such as an administrator name and password, that indicates that the requester has permission to manage catalog information 350.
  • [0047]
    FIG. 4 is a flowchart of a method of providing catalog management functionality as a Web Service. The method begins at 400, when a Web Services signature requesting catalog information is received. The received Web Services signature can request particular catalog information by specifying a particular catalog, catalog category, product, or the like. Alternatively, the received Web Services signature can request particular catalog information by specifying a search query.
  • [0048]
    Based upon the request, an appropriate set of catalog information is selected, as shown at 410. For example, if the request specifies a particular catalog, a set of products and/or catalog categories currently in that catalog can be selected. Similarly, if the request specifies a particular catalog category, a set of products included in that catalog category can be selected. If the request specifies a search query, a set of products satisfying that search query can be selected.
  • [0049]
    If the Web Services signature contains sales context information (or refers to saved sales context information) and invokes a service that can use that sales context, the sales context information will be used to satisfy the request, as indicated at 420. In this case, various rules and/or policies can be applied to the selected set of catalog information, based upon the sales context, in order to select a subset of the catalog information, as shown at 430. The catalog information selected at 410 and/or 430 can then be returned to the requester in a Web Service signature, as shown at 440.
  • [0050]
    FIG. 5 is a block diagram of a computing device that illustrates how an order management system that provides product selection and dynamic catalog generation functionality as a Web Services interface can be implemented in software. FIG. 5 is a block diagram of a computing device 5 (e.g., one of computing devices 5(1)-5(5) of FIG. 1) that implements all or part of an order management system 50 that includes catalog module 300. While the illustrated example shows a single module executing on a single computing device, it is noted that in alternative embodiments, the functionality included within order management system 50 can be subdivided among multiple modules, each of which may be implemented on a separate computing device.
  • [0051]
    Computing device 5 can be a personal computer, network appliance, server, personal digital assistant, mobile phone, storage controller (e.g., an array controller, tape drive controller, or hard drive controller), or the like. As illustrated, computing device 5 includes one or more processors 502 (e.g., microprocessors, Programmable Logic Devices (PLDs), or Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs)) configured to execute program instructions stored in memory 504. Memory 504 can include various types of RAM (Random Access Memory), Read Only Memory (ROM), Flash memory, Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) memory, magnetic core memory, and the like. Memory 504 can include both volatile and non-volatile memory. Computing device 5 also includes one or more interfaces 506. Processor 502, interface 506, and memory 504 are coupled to send and receive data and control signals by a bus or other interconnect.
  • [0052]
    Interface 506 can include a network interface to various networks and/or interfaces to various peripheral buses. For example, interface 506 can include a network interface via which order management system 50 sends and receives Web Service signatures. Interface 506 can also include an interface to one or more storage devices. For example, order management system 50 can access catalog information 350 stored on such a storage device.
  • [0053]
    In this example, program instructions and data executable to implement all or part of order management system 50 are stored in various computer readable storage media such as memory 504. In some embodiments, such software is stored on a computer readable storage medium such as a Compact Disc (CD), Digital Versatile Disc (DVD), hard disk, optical disk, tape device, floppy disk, and the like). In order to be executed by processor 502, the instructions and data can be loaded into memory 504 from the other computer readable storage medium. The instructions and/or data can also be transferred to computing device 5 for storage in memory 504 via a network such as the Internet or upon a carrier medium.
  • [0054]
    The flowcharts provided here are provided as examples, and it is noted that other embodiments can include different operations instead of and/or in addition to those shown in the flowcharts presented herein.
  • [0055]
    Although the present invention has been described in connection with several embodiments, the invention is not intended to be limited to the specific forms set forth herein. On the contrary, it is intended to cover such alternatives, modifications, and equivalents as can be reasonably included within the scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.

Claims (20)

  1. 1. A method comprising:
    receiving a Web Service signature requesting access to catalog information, wherein the Web Service signature comprises information indicative of a sales context; and
    dynamically generating a catalog, based upon the sales context.
  2. 2. The method of claim 1, further comprising:
    generating a second Web Service signature, wherein the second Web Service signature comprises information indicative of the catalog; and
    sending the second Web Service signature to an application, wherein the Web Service signature is received from the application.
  3. 3. The method of claim 1, further comprising:
    receiving a second Web Service signature requesting access to catalog information,
    wherein the second Web Service signature comprises second information indicative of a second sales context,
    wherein the first Web Service signature is received from a first sales channel module in a first sales channel, and
    wherein the second Web Service signature is received from a second sales channel module in a second sales channel; and
    dynamically generating a second catalog, based upon the second sales context.
  4. 4. The method of claim 1, wherein the catalog comprises a plurality of catalog categories.
  5. 5. The method of claim 1, wherein the catalog comprises a plurality of products.
  6. 6. The method of claim 1, wherein the dynamically generating the catalog comprises applying eligibility and pricing rules to a set of catalog information.
  7. 7. The method of claim 1, further comprising:
    receiving a second Web Service signature requesting search information for a particular catalog; and
    selecting the search information from the catalog information, in response to receipt of the second Web Service signature.
  8. 8. The method of claim 1, further comprising:
    receiving a second Web Service signature requesting to modify the catalog information; and
    modifying the catalog, in response to receipt of the second Web Service signature.
  9. 9. The method of claim 1, further comprising:
    receiving a second Web Service signature requesting product information from the catalog information; and
    selecting the product information from the catalog information, in response to receipt of the second Web Service signature.
  10. 10. A computer readable storage medium storing program instructions executable to:
    detect receipt of a Web Service signature requesting access to catalog information, wherein the Web Service signature comprises information indicative of a sales context; and
    dynamically generate a catalog, based upon the sales context specified in the Web Service signature.
  11. 11. The computer readable storage medium of claim 100, wherein the program instructions are further executable to:
    generate a second Web Service signature, wherein the second Web Service signature comprises information indicative of the catalog; and
    send the second Web Service signature to an application, wherein the Web Service signature is received from the application.
  12. 12. The computer readable storage medium of claim 10, wherein the program instructions are further executable to:
    detect receipt of a second Web Service signature requesting access to catalog information,
    wherein the second Web Service signature comprises second information indicative of a second sales context,
    wherein the first Web Service signature is received from a first sales channel module in a first sales channel, and
    wherein the second Web Service signature is received from a second sales channel module in a second sales channel; and
    dynamically generate a second catalog, based upon the second sales context.
  13. 13. The computer readable storage medium of claim 10, wherein the catalog comprises a plurality of catalog categories.
  14. 14. The computer readable storage medium of claim 10, wherein the catalog comprises a plurality of products.
  15. 15. The computer readable storage medium of claim 10, wherein dynamically generating the catalog comprises applying eligibility and pricing rules to a set of catalog information.
  16. 16. The computer readable storage medium of claim 10, wherein the program instructions are further executable to:
    detect receipt of a second Web Service signature requesting search information for a particular catalog; and
    select the search information from the catalog information, in response to receipt of the second Web Service signature.
  17. 17. The computer readable storage medium of claim 10, wherein the program instructions are further executable to:
    detect receipt of a second Web Service signature requesting to modify the catalog information; and
    modify the catalog, in response to receipt of the second Web Service signature.
  18. 18. The computer readable storage medium of claim 10, wherein the program instructions are further executable to:
    detect receipt of a second Web Service signature requesting product information from the catalog information; and
    select the product information from the catalog information, in response to receipt of the second Web Service signature.
  19. 19. A system comprising:
    computer readable storage means for storing catalog information; and
    catalog generation means for:
    receiving a Web Service signature requesting access to the catalog information, wherein the Web Service signature comprises information indicative of a sales context; and
    dynamically generating a catalog, based upon the sales context.
  20. 20. The system of claim 19, wherein the catalog means are further for:
    generating a second Web Service signature, wherein the second Web Service signature comprises information indicative of the catalog; and
    sending the second Web Service signature to an application, wherein the Web Service signature is received from the application.
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